John Talabot opened his recent DJ-Kicks mix with North Lake's spooky synth jam "Journey To The Centre Of The Sun." That record, with its gloopy bells pinned to a beat that verged on narcolepsy, set a pitch-perfect opening for Talabot's off-kilter house trip. You can see why Phonica were inspired to sign North Lake's follow-up. But though Moonwalker treads similar ground, the atmosphere that made "Journey" so mesmerising has all but evaporated.
Where previously North Lake's records have felt crammed under intense pressure into a tiny space, Moonwalker is music in widescreen. All three tracks are live analogue jams, with jazzy licks that whirl away like wisps of cloud. But for all the prettiness of the individual elements, there's a sense that sound design is more important than structure—"Marlborol Noir" and "Moonwalker" are impressive displays of synthesis, but too clinical and aimless to hold your attention. "Suomi Kutsuu" starts more promisingly but it too soon introduces the kind of aimless scales a restaurant pianist plays to be ignored. It's a shame, because clearly each part is lovingly crafted. They just lack an overriding structure to pin individual moments of prettiness together.
TracklistA Marlborol Noir
B1 Suomi Kutsuu